Kentucky vs. LSU NCAA Basketball Picks and Odds Analysis

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Oscar Tshiebwe #34 of the Kentucky Wildcats. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

One team seeks a 2-0 start to the SEC schedule while the other looks to avoid an 0-2 beginning, setting the stage for a solid clash on Tuesday’s NCAA basketball odds slate when the Kentucky Wildcats visit the LSU Tigers.

Kentucky Wildcats vs. LSU Tigers 

Tuesday, January 04, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Pete Maravich Assembly Center 

Kentucky is playing about as well as could be imagined as it heads to Baton Rouge for this matchup with LSU. The Wildcats have a string of four consecutive lopsided wins since suffering an upset defeat at Notre Dame a little more than three weeks ago, the closest victory in that streak being a 27-point rout of Missouri in the SEC opener.

A perfect 12-0 start to the season came to an end for LSU the last time out with a setback on the road at Auburn. The Tigers were small underdogs at top sportsbooks in that one, and face a very difficult start to the conference schedule with ranked foes in their first three SEC contests, along with top 25 hurdles to clear in five of the first seven. 

‘Over’ Has Cashed Seven of Last Ten Encounters 

The lone matchup of the top 25 teams on Tuesday’s slate will be televised by ESPN, and it’s LSU drawing the slight 1-point chalk at most outlets. There is a 139½-140½ range for bettors looking to play the scoreboard.    

Just like their last four victories, the Wildcats have a lopsided advantage in the rivalry with the Tigers. With wins in the last two meetings and five of the last six, Kentucky has fattened up its record against LSU to 91-27. The Tigers’ only win over the Wildcats in that span came at Rupp Arena in February 2019, one of only six wins LSU has in 50 games at Lexington. 

The two teams were in Lexington for the only matchup last season, and Kentucky treated its 3,000 fans to an 82-69 triumph. The betting odds only favored the Wildcats by a bucket, and the final went past a 146-point total to mark the seventh ‘over’ winner in the last 10 meetings. Louisiana State’s last win at home in the series came almost exactly six years ago, a mild upset of then-No. 9 Kentucky. 

UK Leads Nation in Rebound Margin 

The biggest fear John Calipari has right now is his Wildcats getting hit with a shutdown caused by COVID-19. Of course, all coaches fear the same thing, but it would be especially devastating for a Kentucky program that is hitting on all cylinders during a time most teams struggle to find consistency with the normal interruptions that finals and the Christmas break cause. 

Kentucky welcomed Tubby Smith and High Point to Rupp Arena on New Year’s Eve, honored its former head coach with a nice pregame ceremony, then beat the snot out of the Panthers in a 92-48 laugher. BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) closed the Wildcats as 27-point chalk, and they had that spread covered with 13 minutes remaining in the second half. 

Calipari emptied his bench in that 44-point victory and enjoyed watching his team shoot nearly 60% against an overmatched High Point squad. The Wildcats have covered all four games during the current win streak after beginning the campaign a woeful 3-6 against the spread. Kentucky’s average margin of victory during the streak is nearly 34 points. 

Bayou Bengals 4th Allowing Only 55.3 PPG 

After Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl predicted a tight battle with LSU last week, the double-Tiger tilt never really lived up to the hype. A big factor in the 70-55 final was Auburn’s incredible defense that led to an 18-1 start against LSU. Most online betting sites closed Auburn as 4½-point chalk, and Pearl’s side was paced by Walker Kessler’s triple-double (16 points, 10 rebounds, 11 blocks). 

It was LSU’s defense that propelled Will Wade’s team to the 12-0 start, though it wasn’t necessarily against a tough schedule. The Tigers had not allowed an opponent to score more than 63 in a game prior to the trip to Auburn and were holding opponents to a 33.8% field goal clip which was tops in the country. Even with the loss at Auburn, LSU still leads the nation in field goal defense (34.5%) and is fourth in scoring defense (55.3 PPG).              

The Tigers could be a little thin in the backcourt with Brandon Murray listed as questionable due to a hamstring injury. The 6-5 freshman is second on the team in minutes (28.6) and fifth in scoring (8.8 PPG). Whether Murray plays or not, I still like the Wildcats with my free college basketball pick

NCAAB Pick: Kentucky +2 (-108) with Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Kentucky +2 (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.